Feeling so much better…

And not so undone.

Thank you all so very much for the support, comments, and emails – what wonderful people and friends you are.

A mere week after my last post, I truly have a new perspective. Actually, what I have is perspective. That nasty little diagnosis is, in the end, only words. I didn’t get sicker because of it, although I almost did. It is so incredibly easy to fall into the trap of defining one’s self by an issue or challenge.

A little retail therapy helped as well. My fabric stash is a lot bigger today than it was a short time ago!

And this morning I finished a super cute new blouse pattern.

Thank you again, back soon. Coco

Virtual sewing…

Hugging the pillow – again. I’ve been sidelined for about a week, I’m tired of not feeling well! Whine…

But I see my PCP at Cleveland Clinic in 2 weeks, and I want every test! so I can beat this intermittent issue that’s been challenging me for over a year. Believe me, I’ve been tested like crazy and everything is working great. So why do I feel so awful? I’m sure it’s tied to my scleroderma and its effect on nutrient absorption.

I had been feeling so well since early December, but I started stumbling during Ashley’s wedding weekend at the end of February. And was in the ER once more in mid March. aarrggh.

Meanwhile – for the last day or so, I’ve felt well enough to do some online window shopping and to think about getting back in the loft. I’m feeling an urge to do something different for spring and summer. Uh oh, dangerous territory. New patterns are implied.


Have you heard of ‘lagenlook’? From the German word, it translates as ‘layered look’. I didn’t realize there’s a term for this style of clothing, I really hadn’t thought about it. Now I find there’s a big world of lagenlook designers, retailers, bloggers, sewists, Pinterest boards…I’ve done a lot of looking. The approach is so appealing to the loose clothing/maxi lover that I am.

I was tipped in this direction by recent Pattern Reviews by rivergum and twotoast, focusing on designs by Tina Givens. What? I love Tina Givens fabric! Her designs are romantic, creative, intricate, and well articulated. Now I’ve fallen for her sewing site (what a relaxing exploration, it’s beautifully done) and her patterns.

She has 6 freebies, and all are really appealing patterns. I picked up two of them right away:

The Plinka pants. Well, OK, I might not do the ruffled hems, but how about very full pants, something between a gaucho and a culotte.

And the Bloom dress, which seems very foundational – many of her designs appear to be a play on this basic style.

That was so much fun, no money spent, and new ideas garnered.

Well no, I just couldn’t stop there. I purchased 3 more! but with a generous newbie discount.  This is so typical of me. I like to ‘fullsome’ anything I’m doing. Artwork, crafting, sewing, gardening – I always end up surrounding myself with everything and anything I think I might need. Apparently I need 3 more patterns to complete my initial Tina Givens journey.


Gypsy jacket


Phoebe shirt and pants


Suzanna jacket

These designs are so calm

Lightweight linens, voile, blends, jerseys – finding the right fabrics will be interesting, especially on a retiree budget. But I’ll pace myself! I have lots of broadcloth in the stash for muslins, which will keep me out of trouble for a while.


Early this morning, I rambled through my Bloglovin’ update email as usual. This and the Pattern Review update are company to my first cup of coffee, every day. It has become a pleasurable habit. And I found a new pattern by True Bias – the Southport dress.

(Yes, True Bias of the Hudson Pants fame…great pattern).

Of course I had to have this. Fresh, pockets, long – I can already feel this dress. I have a gorgeous, soft Maggy London embroidered lawn that has been languishing in my stash, just waiting for the right pattern. The fabric is a bit challenging – the flowers are large and need a proper display. I think this will be a good marriage.


And I stopped there! I’m looking forward to all the cutting and taping of pattern pieces (these are all PDF patterns). I really am – I enjoy getting on the floor with my cutting board and drafting tools, and putting on a good movie or watching Big Bang Theory (my geek side – I have all of the episodes).
Hoping everyone has a nice weekend – bye for now! Coco

Koos van den Akker

Even though Koos van den Akker has battled cancer for a long while, he seemed too vibrant and in the moment to leave us. But he passed away on February 4, 2015, in NYC.

I’ve been so influenced by this unique designer. By his obvious love of fabric, color, and form, and his ability to translate that to incredible and breathtaking garments. Koos’ imagination has always stirred mine – his work seems to radiate a free and unbounded spirit and creativity that is liberating. I’ve never thought I could create or sew as he did, but he opened my mind and eye to so many possibilities.

His story is fascinating, and a quick Google will bring up tributes from fashion sites, designers, and periodicals worldwide. I’ve also added a Pinterest board with many of his fashions, as well as his Vogue patterns.

Koos of course.


Harper’s Bazaar

2014 American Folk Art Museum Exhibition: Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art

Vogue 1106

‘Round the World Blog Hop – from South Florida

Age 17, Crescent Beach, South Carolina 

Blog hop, be bop. Can’t help myself. Dear friend Angela at Collected Yarns passed the baton to me this week. This is such fun! On to the particulars…

1. What am I working on?

My usual odd assortment! Cotton pillowcases for my daughter, PJ tops (I think of this as utility sewing, I seem to ‘lose’ PJ tops like others lose socks), fall pants and tunics, and a couple dress patterns. I’m also reconsidering a piece of faux fur that has bested me in the past. To overcome my apprehension of all that pesky fur, I’m considering cutting and sewing the whole thing in the garage.

I don’t sew with a plan – I’m a joyfully retired technologies project manager. After 30 years of working to requirements, schedules, and expectations, I’m not going there! I’m enjoying my unfinished projects.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I live in south Florida, so I primarily sew garments that are comfortable in a perpetually warm climate.

I have skin sensitivity issues, so I focus on fabrics, designs, techniques, and finishes that take them into consideration. E.g., I can’t wear hardware, fitted waists or close cuffs, so I’ll alter a pattern with an alternative. I favor cotton, cotton blends, and polyester blends, anything with a long fiber. No animal fibers, because they always manage to work out of a weave.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I sew because I love to create in my head and with my hands. For me the entire process is calming, peaceful, and rewarding. And I blog about it because blogging is an interactive form of writing. My pen pals in the blogger community add incredible dimension, knowledge, and happiness to my life. They are creative, spontaneous, sharing, and charming people. Honestly, when I approached retirement, I had no idea that I would find this community and enjoy such enrichment in my life. Happy surprise.

With sister Susie and Mom

4. How does my writing/creating process work? Ok, here comes my project manager side…

Visuals: I take photos from the time I open a pattern through completion and modeling of the garment.

    Background: I also take notes the whole time (I keep them in my Evernote pattern file).

      Workup: I evaluate my photos in Photoscape and discard the ones the hundreds I don’t think I’ll use. I generally end up with a basic set of views, including the pattern line art. Photoscape and Picasa, both of which are free software, are the only editing tools I use.

        Writing: I don’t write a blog post until a garment is done, and then it just seems to flow. I try for a natural voice that’s easy to read, so I break a lot of punctuation rules. I do try to be mindful of guidelines for reading level, use of white space, etc. I spell-check!

          And I am truly bothered by the number of times I’ve used the word ‘I’ in this blog post!! 
          I’m delighted to pass the baton to a talented sewist, writer, artist, and friend, who’s been an inspiration ever since I started blogging in early 2012 – Mary at Biblioblog. Over to you, Mary. 

          Ciao! Coco